How to Completely Restore Customer Confidence After Things Go Wrong

Updated: June 07, 2010

For the last ten years I have studied service failure and service recovery from every possible angle and I have benchmarked best-in-service companies throughout the world. My research has led to me uncovering a series of 6 simple, but remarkably effective strategies that will position organizations to keep customers coming back after even the worst has happened. Each of the 6 strategies is scientifically proven and surprisingly easy to execute.

I present to you How to Completely Restore Customer Confidence After Things Go Wrong: A simple 6-step customer recovery strategy.

1. Courtesy. If you solve the customer's issue, but are rude or indifferent in the process, you can still negatively impact the relationship. When customers feel like they are being treated with respect, dignity, and sensitivity by employees, they feel a sense of justice and fairness from the company.

2. Apology. Making an apology to customers after things go wrong is positively related to satisfaction with the recovery. When a service employee apologizes to a customer, she conveys politeness, courtesy, concern, effort, and empathy. An apology needs to be offered whether the problem is the fault of the company, customer, a third-party, or an act of nature.

3. Justification. A vital, but often overlooked element of customer recovery is to provide an explanation for how or why the problem happened. Taking the time to explain to a customer what might have caused the problem helps organizations re-establish trust with customers.

4. Resolution. One of the gifts of a voiced complaint is that if offers the company an opportunity to re-perform the service. When given this second chance, companies must bend over backwards to fix the problem and restore customer confidence.

5. Immediateness. Research reveals that ninety-five percent of complaining customers will remain loyal if their complaint is resolved on the first contact. That number drops to seventy percent when the complaint is not immediately resolved.

6. Compensation. Reparation (in the form of discounts, free merchandise, refunds, gift cards, coupons, and product samples) after a service failure has been found to restore equity and improve customer satisfaction.

Studies show that 58% of complaining consumers who received something in the mail following their contact with consumer affairs departments were delighted, versus only 40% of those who did not receive anything.

Featured Research
  • 2017 Must Have Contact Center Features

    If you’re running a business, your contact center is of paramount importance. In fact, 85% of companies view customer service as the greatest of their top, industry-wide differentiators. more

  • 10 Reasons Why  Automated Agents  Aren't the Answer

    Automated customer service agents are a tempting option. They never need time off. You don’t have to pay them a salary. They don’t even need a physical workspace. But despite these advantages, they remain a poor substitute for live agents. more

  • The 2017 Contact Center Comparison Guide: Q2 Edition

    We want to make sure you have the freshest information possible, so we’ve updated that chart to reflect the state of the contact center market for Q2. more

  • Contact Center Software for SMBs

    If you run a small- to medium-sized business (SMB), finding ways to compete with larger, more established companies can prove troublesome—fortunately, contact center software can help. more

  • How to Update Your Contact Center Software

    If improving customer experience is important to you (it should be), then 2017 may be a good year to reevaluate the software you use for your contact center. With customer preferences shifting, the importance of an efficient contact center has never been higher. You cannot afford to simply focus on keeping costs low. Significant competitive advantages are available to businesses who manage this area effectively. more